The people have spoken: May 7th to May 20th 2019

The Offside Line's readers have their say on the rugby stories which have really mattered to them during the last fortnight

Matt Fagerson leads Glasgow Warriors' celebrations following their Guinness Pro14 win over Ulster last Friday night. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

HERE is the third instalment of our series chronicling most interesting and thought-provoking feedback we have had on the stories covered by The Offside Line during the last two weeks.

We welcome submissions via Facebook, Twitter and comments at the foot of articles on the site. You can also email us at contact@theoffsideline.com, but please make it clear that you consent to have your words published and attributed.

We welcome views on all aspects of the game – things you like and things you don’t like – as long as it is respectful and constructive. Valid criticism is fine, personal attacks will be deleted.


7th May: Carl Hogg names Scotland Under-20s squad for World Championship

The age-grade side will play one warm-up match against SRU partnership club Old Glory DC in Washington, before travelling to Argentina where they have been drawn in a tough pool against South Africa, New Zealand and Georgia.

Moody Blue:

Gus Warr (Sale) not included in England U20 squad. He played for Scotland up to Under 19 while he was at Dollar Academy. Wonder if he might regret not making himself available to Scotland this season, in that he now misses out on World Cup?


10th May: Tommy Spinks joins Glasgow Accies as player/coach

Ayr back-rower Tommy Spinks has decided not play Super 6 next year and has joined National League Two side Glasgow Accies instead.

Dom Ward (via Twitter):

Glasgow seems to be the place to be next season! Accies and GHK to set the pace in their respective leagues. Wonder how much this is costing?

Neil Sinclair (via Twitter):

More a sign that some senior players may be turning their back on super 6!!!

Any intel on how many other senior players may not be playing in super 6 next season?

We Are Warriors (via Twitter):

He’s way too young to become a coach at 25 yrs old. A sign of the problems in ?


10th May: Warren Gatland to lead 2021 Lions tour to South Africa

News that the Kiwi will take charge of his third consecutive Lions tour met with a predictably cool reception in Scotland.

Jim Connor (via Twitter):

Someone PLEASE tell me this is a joke!!!!

Buzet Allan (via Twitter):

No Scots again as first choice, his track record is bad 🙁


14th May: Derek O’Riordan takes over the reins at Murrayfield Wanderers

After a tough year overseeing Edinburgh Accies on their return to the Premiership, O’Riordan stepped down from the Raeburn Place hot seat back in April, but is going to be back involved next year with Murrayfield Wanderers.

Davy Young (President of Murrayfield Wanderers RFC):

Well done to Bobby Frazer for all his hard work in securing a very professional and exciting coaching team at Roseburn next Year. In what was the most challenging year in my life Bobby has stepped up and been the best Vice President we could ever hope for and all the credit for last season and reorganisation into this year lies squarely at his door. When building a team around you it’s important to choose wisely and I can only thank my lucky stars I did that. Next season will be my last season as president and with this coaching team and the new committee, I’m looking forward to some great days at Roseburn as the Juggernaut that is Murrayfield Wanderers continues to make history,


14th May: Super 6 will not be a development league, insists Sean Lineen

Former Scotland centre and Glasgow Warriors head coach Lineen, who is now head of ‘on-field development’ for Super 6, gave his first media briefing since that new job was added to his portfolio last August.

Dom Ward:

Roll up roll up! For the most fantastical rugby expo. Test your self at the highest level (small print – other higher levels may be available elsewhere). Initial quality unknown but feel that width!

As a “doubter” this nonsense from Sean reinforces the doubts that S6 doesn’t know what it’s there for. The idea that folks will use this as a means to a pro contract is interesting. Though I expect the number of folks successful with that journey to be minuscule.

So no TV deal, guaranteed increased costs for next season but little word on how the S6 entities will raise those funds without also negatively impacting their other sides. Jam tomorrow is not a strategy.

Bryce Weir:

How the hang do you build support for this new product if it is “taken off the shelves” for four & a half months every winter.

SL appears clueless about the commercial needs to attract paying punters, advertisers, TV (in your dreams) coverage with, effectively, two annual seasons.

Keith Wallace:

Feel sorry for aspiring players, with the continual uncertainty and tune changing. Which chair do they grab when the music stops

They might see little rugby in a stacato season in S6 yet that should be the shop window, and should have the best coaching and support.

They may lack experienced players to learn from in S6 and should see more games and may gain more learning in the Premiership.

Who knows how competitive S6, the Premiership and Nat 1 will be until the music stops and the games begin, wonder what odds the bookies would give in these leagues? Will this be harder to forecast if for example the Centrally based Premiership Clubs have a season front loaded with L3 academy boys playing down? The very boys S6 was set up for because the Premiership, now likely to be weaker, was not fit for purpose?

Already intriguing that the likes of Bryce and Spinks, both very good players and still relatively young are off to Nat 2 rather than S6. At least they are still in the game, although Bryce’s move tends to make a mockery of the secret “Robson Report” on player welfare used to justify Nat 1 for S6 2nd teams. Good on him.

Hope we don’t hack off too many club players, and lose them to the game, since Scottish Rugby needs players more than at any time in its history.

I.D.G.:

Despite the likeable Sean Lineen’s protestations, ‘Super’ 6 will be, in effect, an endless series of SRU practice matches in which six Dodson-Defeated XVs will play amongst each other no fewer than four times, coached by six SRU employees empowered to swap players from team to team, more or less as and when they please. (The six other matches against strife-torn, cost-cutting Welsh sides are hardly enticing.)

Our six former Premiership clubs have each lamely conceded to the SRU hijackers not only ultimate control of their best club players, but also the (cosmetic) use of their club names, club traditions, and club colours, as well as the (financially-valuable) use of their club pitches and dressing rooms – not to mention £62,500 of their own hard-raised club funds paid towards ‘their’ players’ wages every season (unless, like so many other S6 details, this sum has also changed). The SRU take-over is virtually complete.

However, club spectators might not prove quite such willing SRU hostages. After the repeated boredom of watching, say, an unfamiliar, frequently-changing Dodson-Defeated One XV playing the Dodson-Defeated Two XV, then playing the Dodson-Defeated Three XV, then the Four XV, then Five and Six – over and over and over again – it seems highly probable that traditional club supporters will vote with their feet, and follow instead the fortunes of their own amateur club teams playing good rugby for the sheer love of it, against both old and new rivals.

Mr Dodson alleged that the Premiership was ‘not fit for purpose’, despite our current system – with no ‘Super’ 6 – producing truly excellent Scotland, Edinburgh and Glasgow performances. Honest, well-intentioned rugby men tried to resist but, notwithstanding, the SRU Chief Executive bullied through his personal vanity project. So it now seems slightly ironic that Heriot’s vs Ayr matches are being used by the SRU’s Head of On-field Development as Premiership quality benchmarks to which ‘Super’ 6 teams should aspire.

Neil Sinclair (via Twitter):

A huge amount of ifs, buts and maybes. Whilst claiming that a number of players are coming north, some are heading south. If they are coming north how do they earn a living? Certainly not on a S6 pay packet. I don’t understand the logic of a 4 month gap in the season, frankly odd

Paul Justice (via Twitter):

Bravo, I say, bravo for – better weather rugby is being delivered – soon it might be an option for the rest of us.


14th May: Vern Cotter shifted upstairs at Montpellier after disappointing season

After a disappointing season with Montpellier, former Scotland head coach Cotter has been handed a new role for the final year of his contract at the club which – curiously for anyone who has encountered the taciturn New Zealander – involves: marketing, commerce, partnership and communication.

Tony Bayliss:

I’d make Vern an offer to come back to take over from Scott Johnson.

PJ (via Twitter):

We would love to have him back as Director of Rugby – or as Glasgow’s Head Coach

Neil Sinclair (via Twitter):

The amount of injuries Montpellier have had have contributed to a poor season but they have been unbeaten over the past couple of months. There were also rumours of dressing room fall out between coaches and players


19th May: Watsonians finish 7s season in style with Jed triumph

Watsonians finished their Kings of the 7s campaign with a win at Jed, but former one SRU President was more impressed with something he spotted on the sideline.

Bert Duffy:

Congratulations to SRU VP Ian Barr for taking the time yesterday at Jed to go round chatting to the “real rugby punter” re their views on the recent EGM which appeared to turn out to be, to say the least, most unsatisfactory.

He spent all afternoon on his mission and on speaking to many club guys it was a good afternoon’s work.

Well done, Ian.


19th May: Steyn of destiny: Glasgow’s late arrival primed for key role in final

Kyle Steyn has been a revelation since breaking into the Glasgow Warriors team back in February, but it was Stuart Bathgate’s headline on TOL’s post-match interview with the South African centre which got our readers chatting this weekend.

Toonie Tweets (via Twitter):

Steyn of destiny – just a brilliant line!

Thistle Scottish Rugby Podcast (via Twitter):

Ok everyone stop trying. The Steyn of Desitiny is henceforth how we will refer to Kyle Steyn. Well done to , collect your £10 voucher at the next meeting

Colin Macmillan (via Facebook):

A great player who will only get much better!


20th May: “Nonsense”: Celtic legend Jim Craig gives Leo Cullen short shrift

As the build-up to Glasgow Warriors’ Guinness Pro14 Grand Final clash against Leinster at Celtic Park this coming Saturday intensifies, former Celtic great Jim Craig had a few choice thoughts on Leinster head coach Leo Cullen’s ill advised attempts to woo some Glasgow based potential supporters.

Andrew McIntosh (via Twitter):

Wholeheartedly agree with Jim Craig – utter nonsense – we’re coming down from Aberdeen to cheer on the Warriors. I’m sure fans will be heading to Celtic Park from all over the country.


20th May: Scotland 7s star Jack Cuthbert is latest GHK recruit

The Old Anneisland men have recruited another big name to play alongside Kevin Bryce in National Two next season.

Thistle Scottish Rugby Podcast (via Twitter):
I mean, is this not getting a bit ridiculous? Clubs getting round the rules by paying players and calling them ‘coaches’? Not quite in the spirit I would venture…

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